Britain’s manufacturers saw activity soften in early 2018 according to the latest survey snapshot of the sector.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 55.1 in the month, above the 50 point that separates contraction from expansion and up slightly from the 55 reading registered in February.
However, the average reading for the first quarter of 2018 was the lowest in a year.
“The latest PMI survey provided further evidence that UK manufacturing has entered a softer growth phase so far this year,” said Rob Dobson of IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“Although the pace of output expansion ticked higher in March, which is especially encouraging given the heavy snowfall during the month, this was offset by slower increases in new orders and employment.”
The index of new orders fell to a nine-month low.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that manufacturing, which accounts for around 10 percent of UK GDP, expanded by 1.3 percent in the final quarter of 2017 and by 2.5 percent over the year as a whole.
Exports from the sector were helped by the weakness of pound and also strong demand from the rest of the world.